Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Reflections of Jesus' Feetwashing

John 13:4-5
…[Jesus] got up from the table, took off
his outer robe, and tied a towel around
himself. Then he poured water into a
basin and began to wash the disciples’
feet and to wipe them with the towel
that was tied around him

I got to admit, the story of Jesus washing his disciples is pretty weird to me. To a western christian who lives in the west - why was the experience of washing feet so important, and what does it mean for me today.

Unlike today, feet in Jesus's time were the prime mode of transport, particularly for peasants living in the backwater part of a backwater country in the Roman empire. Jesus and his band of disciples would have spent all day walking down the roman roads, in only their sandles.

The muck the disciples received on thier feet represented the journey they had been on during the day, the collection of activities they had been in, both the good and bad. In this act, Jesus connected personally with the past journey of the disciples, and served them in an intimate way.

I wonder if the closest thing to this in our day to day life, would be going to each of our neighbours, and serve them by putting thier rubbish out. Collecting the materials and rubbish that they have collected on thier journey and serve them, in such connecting intimately with them.

All I know, is that people struggle with being served, it strikes at our autonomy as people, especially in the west. We personally beleive that we can get on on our own, and that also other people can cope on thier own as well.

Peters reaction was the same, he remarked - Rabbi, do not clean my feat. One because he thought it was below Jesus to do so, but also because he was embarrased at what Jesus would discover in cleaning his feat. In doing so Jesus intimately connected with his servants and actively showed that to be a follower we are to serve those around us humbly.

In serving, we intimately connect with the needs of those around us. We show people that they have worth in thier humanity. Serving is an act of love that brings shalom to those around us.

Take time to look, and take in. What are the needs that people are facing around you, how can you serve your neighbours. Maybe the first act is to introduce yourself to your neighbours?

What would be an act in our time, similar to cleaning the disciples feet? 

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